Message from your ACHE Regent – Summer 2019

 I’m in board retreat mode.  Time to reflect on what’s going on in the healthcare environment and strategize for the “now, near, and far” (a phrase I learned last year that is attributed to the CEO of Ford Motor Company). It’s a useful framework for segmenting attention for a group, as well as oneself. My employer, Minnesota Hospital Association, has been preparing to draft a new strategic plan throughout this year, and the retreat is a key part of the process.

At our retreat, we are going through a scenario planning exercise. Shell Oil popularized the use of scenarios decades ago, famously preparing them for the oil crisis in the ‘70s. They didn’t really predict the oil crisis, but they discussed it as a potential scenario, and had thought about what actions would be necessary if it occurred.

For us, this exercise generally involves delving into four scenarios derived from a 2×2 grid. The axes of that grid could be anything meaningful that has two, somewhat-opposite, options. For example – and this is made-up – think of a grid with one axis with “Republican control”/”Democrat control” and the other with “status quo healthcare”/”major disruption healthcare”. This gives you four scenarios to discuss (for instance, one scenario is Democrat & status quo). Once the group has agreed on what the potential outcomes of each scenario are, the group can then discuss the impact of each scenario to the organization, and plan accordingly. In my experience, this is very useful to the organization and is also entertaining for the participants.

 I’m looking forward to it.


  • Run for Regent! I can’t believe this is already here, but the elections for the new Regent for Minnesota will happen this fall. It continues to my great honor to serve in this role, but my time will conclude at next year’s Congress in March, and the torch will be passed for the next three years. If you or someone you know are interested in becoming the next Regent, time is of the essence. All Fellows who wish to run for election must submit a letter of intent to by Aug. 23. The letter of intent must include a current business title, business address, email address and telephone number.
  • Regent awards. One of my favorite tasks is to recognize the achievements of our members at our Annual Meeting (which is on Nov. 14 at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth – mark your calendars). We always have one award each for Emerging (i.e. “young”) and Senior Leaders. We also recognize a third leader, and this year the theme of that award is Collaboration. Please consider nominating someone – even yourself – for one of these awards. E-mail me at

Mark A. Sonneborn, MS, FACHE
Regent for Minnesota